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Q & A with sophomore forward Jeanise Randolph

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Sidelined with a back injury for most of the season, sophomore forward Jeanise Randolph is back in the rotation for the Bearcats. Her size and presence down low is a key addition for a team looking to get on track in the BIG EAST. Below is a Q & A with Randolph on returning to the court.

Q: What is the best part about being back in the rotation?

JR: "Being able to play with the team since I haven't been able to play for 11 games straight. I'm just very excited to able to play with the team and try to help them out."

Q: What was the hardest thing about sitting out and watching from the bench?

JR: "Knowing that I can't help and knowing that I can't go out there a grab rebounds. Knowing that I can't do something about what's going on out on the court and knowing that although it's a good learning experience to watch and be able to see from a different point of view, it's just hard not being able to actually go in there and do something."

Q: What kind of grind is the BIG EAST?

JR: It's a hard grind. You have to make sure you are taking care of your body, make sure you're coming in to the training room, making sure you keep your grades up, making sure you're listening to the coach, and staying focused. There's no time to slack off and you just have to make sure that you are mentally there and physically there."

Q: How does this team take a step forward during the rest of the season?

JR: "Basically listening to our coach and everything she tells us about transition, boxing out, rebounding. We need to stay mentally focused and stay mentally strong. If she tells us to do something then we need to do it. We don't have time for mental lapses because if we do we can go down by ten points in a game, so we just need to focus and we just have to keep pushing through everything."

Q: How has this team stuck together this season during the highs and lows?

JR: "In practice everybody is encouraging each other and getting on each other for mistakes or making sure everyone is paying attention. The captains are being really great and making sure that we're staying focused, making sure that we're physically and mentally there. After practice we hang out, eat together, and if people need their space we give them that space, but making sure we stay as a team and making sure everybody is there for each other."

Q: How is the team preparing for the stretch run featuring games against Notre Dame and UCONN?

JR: "These couple days leading up everybody stays in the training room, everybody is going to class, everybody is focusing in practice and going hard every time. You also want to make sure you're taking care of yourself because if you don't take care of yourself, you're not going to be home for a couple of days to rest it. It's basically just staying relaxed and not stressing over anything and just having fun."

Q: How does the team handle the emotional and mental ups and downs of a season like this?

JR: "It starts with learning from the losses. We don't want to go into a loss and lose because of something that happened last game. We have to build off of a loss and we don't want anymore losses where we dug ourselves in a hole. We want to lose because they were better than us. We want to win and we need to move on. You can't dwell on the past and we need to make sure we do something in this game that we didn't do in the last game. They talk about carry over in practice and we need to carry over good things. If you mess up just continue to play; everybody messes up and it's just a part of the game."

Q: What are some other things that you enjoy while competing in a basketball game?

JR: "I enjoy blasting some one off of a screen or getting a great screen for my team. If I can get an easy bucket I'm excited as well. When I see my other teammates take a charge or if they go to the basket strong then that gets me excited. Sometimes when I take charges it gets me hyped too, but anything can get me excited no matter if we are down or if we are up I like the intensity."

Q: If you had to pick the perfect finish to the season for your team, what would it be?

JR: "Basically I want the seniors to go out with a good season. I want them to finish strong, I want to win the BIG EAST, and I want to make it to the NCAA tournament. I want the seniors to leave Cincinnati and say 'I'm proud of my team and excited to see them play next year'. I want to leave the conference and people to say 'I didn't know Cincinnati was that good' and 'Cincinnati is going to do something in the BIG EAST'. I want people to know that we're someone to play with."

Around the Big East: 1/9

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Cincinnati's Status: (9-7, 0-3) -- As always we will start off with a glance at UC's status in the BIG EAST. Sitting at 0-3 following a road loss at No. 10 Rutgers on Saturday, the girl's are searching for their first BIG EAST win. The Bearcats were led by Bjonee Reaves who had 15 points. Rutgers limited top-scorer Dayeesha Hollins to nine points, which allowed for their 11 point victory to come a lot easier. The Bearcats had trouble with the press of Rutgers in the early going, but settled in and were able to gain confidence in the second half. Still it wasn't enough.

The Bearcats only shot 21 percent in the first half, only scoring 15 points, which put them at an early halftime deficit. Even with the return of the bigger players in Jeanise Randolph, UC still were out rebounded 37-25 and were out-scored in the painted area, 26-18.

Next Up: After a week off for preparation, the Bearcats will host No. 3 and the BIG EAST leader Notre Dame at Fifth Third Arena at 3 p.m. on Jan. 14.

Inside the TOP 25 (AP Poll as of 1/9):
2. Notre Dame
3. Connecticut
8. Rutgers
18. Georgetown
21. DePaul

Game of the previous week: UCONN v. Notre Dame -- Notre Dame topped UCONN at home in an overtime clash on Saturday. This was the game of the week as advertised and it did not disappoint. Preseason BIG EAST player of the year Skylar Diggins led the way for the Irish with 22 points and was aided by teammate Natalie Novosel who scored 20 points of her own. UCONN had their 57-game BIG EAST winning streak snapped in this game. UCONN, who was one spot in front of Notre Dame in the national rankings now sits one spot behind after this game. This was the first time Notre Dame has beaten UCONN back-to-back times (last win was in last season's Final Four), a feat that has not been done recently by any college basketball programs. The Irish join Rutgers as the only undefeated teams in the BIG EAST standings.  

Upset of the previous week: DePaul v. Providence -- Providence's Teya Wright completed her eleventh double-double of the season scoring 19 points and grabbing 12 rebounds as the Friars shocked the No. 21 team in the country. This was Providence's first win over a ranked team since Jan. 7, 2009 when they beat Pittsburgh, the No. 20 team in the country at that time. DePaul only had eight available players for this game due to an injury bug, so that played a roll in the upset. Keisha Hampton, who averages 16.6 points for the Blue Demons, was sidelined for the second straight game with a leg injury. Providence (9-7, 1-2) now has the exact same record as the Bearcats, but with this win gained a victory in the BIG EAST that UC does not have.   

Game of the upcoming week:
Louisville v. Rutgers -- This weeks' game of the week is on Saturday Jan. 14 when Louisville travels to Rutgers for a TOP 25 clash. Rutgers is looking to keep pace with Notre Dame atop the BIG EAST standings. Both of these teams are looking to strengthen their NCAA tournament resumes. The Scarlet Knights and the Cardinals both have 13 wins. Rutgers has won four straight games, while Louisville is coming off a loss to St. John's. Rutgers is 8-1 at home, while Louisville is 7-3 on the road. This game is at 2 p.m. from Louis Brown Athletic Center. 

Game Balls & Player Ratings: USF Bulls

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Another lead was taken from the hands of the Bearcats last night as they fell at Fifth Third Arena for the second time in conference play this season. Leading by four points at the break (31-27), the USF Bulls pulled away in the second half out scoring the Bearcats by seven. The Bull's charge came from their bench, which scored 28 points, while the Bearcats' bench only added seven points to their total of 55 (Jeanise Randolph and Alyesha Lovett were the only bench players to see action). Dayeesha Hollins led the way for UC with 22 points for a team that shot 50 percent in the first half versus only 34 percent in the second half. Points in the paint were a bright side for the Bearcats though, as they out scored the Bulls by 16 near the basket. There were obvious struggles during last night's game and it came from Kayla Cook and Bjonee Reaves who shot a combined 1-12 and added only three points between the two of them in 73 minutes. Reaves was shut out for the first time this season. Chanel Chisholm and Tiffany Turner scored in double-figures for UC and helped keep the score close. Chisholm added 13 points and eight rebounds, while Turner scored 10 points and pulled down four boards. Hollins, Chisholm and Turner receive game ball honors for their efforts and production.

Player ratings: (0-10; 10=Best)

Game Ball winners:

1. Dayeesha Hollins, 9 -- This girl knows how to lead this team and she does it not only in the huddle but also by example on the court. Hollins got off to a red-hot start connecting on two three-pointers during the first two minutes of action last night. She led all scorers with 22 points and was the reason the Bearcats had the lead at halftime and kept this game close. She took a boat-load of shots, but I see no problem with that because of the struggles demonstrated from her fellow guards, Reaves and Cook. Hollins is on her way to becoming an All-BIG EAST performer this season.

"I just play whatever is available to me, and I take advantage of it, so I just play the game, pretty much," Hollins said. "It's better, I am good."

2. Chanel Chisholm, 8 -- The Bearcats were dominant in the painted area last night and a lot of that credit goes to this senior guard. We all know Chisholm's game is getting to the rim and finishing with power, but she has also been a great re-bounder this season with two double-doubles and nearly another last night. She may not show up every game based on how the team is shooting from deep, but Chisholm gave the team a much needed spark last night and has continued to be a leader for a team looking to find its way in the BIG EAST conference.

"I thought Tiffany (Turner) and Chanel (Chisholm) as post players stepped up. But you have Kayla Cook and Bjonee (Reaves) combine for 73 minutes and between the two of them, they were 1-for-12 on the floor. So you can't have our best player denied and then the other two perimeter players not having any productiveness, just as far as helping us in the scoring column," Head coach Jamelle Elliott said. "You just can't have two guys that play over 35 minutes a game going 1-for-12. Why did they go 1-for-12? You know, I don't know. Were they not making shots? Were they not aggressive? Especially when our best player is taken out of the game we have to have others guys step up and help us win. Kayla plays hard for 40 minutes defensively. Bjonee, I think she takes some breaks off whether it is her knee or something else."

3. Tiffany Turner, 7 -- Still in her role in the starting line-up, Turner was able to score in double-figures last night while adding to the domination in the paint. She was effective shooting the ball (5-7) and added four rebounds. Even though her rebounding numbers should be up in a game like this, Turner is still a pivotal part to this operation. She played 26 minutes, while Jeanise Randolph only saw 14. They will continued to be platooned at the forward position this season, but it seems that Turner is still the more productive one of the two, at least for now. 

Previewing the opponent: USF Bulls

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The BIG EAST schedule is back and what better time to start conference play than after the Bearcats won the Hilton Garden Inn Hokie Classic in Blacksburg, Va. Cincinnati's second BIG EAST contest will take place at Fifth Third Arena tonight at 7 p.m. and will be against the southern-most BIG EAST squad, the University of South Florida. The Bearcats have a 14-7 series advantage against USF and have beaten the Bulls the last two times they have played them. The Bearcats, who are 9-5 (0-1 in the BIG EAST) will compete against a 8-6 USF team, who has recently lost to the University of Dayton, a team that UC beat earlier in the season. This is USF's first BIG EAST game this season.

The Bulls are led by an impressive senior guard, Jasmine Wynne, who is averaging 15.9 points per game. The Jacksonville, Florida native has scored in double-figures in 10 straight contests for the green and gold. Wynne also averages a team-high 6.4 rebounds per game while junior guard Kaneisha Saunders leads in the assist category averaging 2.9 per game.

Different than UC, the Bulls have a veteran coach in Jose Fernandez who has been with the program for 12 seasons and has an overall record, close to .500, at 178-174. Jamelle Elliott, the former UCONN stand-out is off to her best start as the head coach at UC.

The statistical leaders for the Bearcats are, Dayeesha Hollins, who is leading in scoring averaging 14.4 points per game. Tiffany Turner continues to lead the rebound category even with Jeanise Randolph back from injury, as she averages 7.9 rebounds per game. Dayeesha Hollins also leads the team in assists with 3.6 per game and has been very impressive lately, especially in her 26 point outing against Virginia Tech on Dec. 28.

Last season's match-up was one of the closest game since the two schools started playing in 1996. UC beat the Bulls 56-55 and tonight's match-up looks to be a close encounter again when examined on paper. The Bearcats should match-up relatively well with the team from Tampa Bay, with Dayeesha Hollins being an athletic guard who will be able to defend Wynne well. It should be another exciting night at Fifth Third Arena. Come out and support your women's basketball program.

Game Balls & Player Ratings: Longwood Lancers

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The University of Cincinnati women's basketball team avenged a home loss to the University of Indianapolis on Monday night with a 70-54 win over Longwood University in a holiday themed day game from Fifth Third Arena. The Bearcats got back Dayeesha Hollins who missed one game with a shoulder injury and Jeanise Randolph who was out since the preseason with back complications. Hollins started for UC while Randolph played a limited role off the bench. The Bearcats were led today by senior Chanel Chisholm who had a game-high 22 points, 10 rebounds, and four steals. Tiffany Turner was 7-7 from the free throw stripe and added 13 points. Turner remained in her starting role, but platooned the low-post position with Randolph, Talequia Hamilton, and Lesha Dunn, who saw limited minutes. While only playing a little during her first game back, Randolph showed hustle and was quite productive shooting a perfect 2-2 from the field with three rebounds, two blocks, and two steals in only 13 minutes. Chisholm, Turner, and Randolph receive game ball honors for their efforts and production.

Player ratings: (0-10; 10=Best)

Game Ball winners:

1. Chanel Chisholm, 9 -- Chisholm was the most productive Bearcat today as she amounted 22 points, but also garnered 10 rebounds for her second career double-double. She also had a game-high four steals, which is a part of her game we haven't seen much of this season. Aside from passing up some scoring opportunities to force the extra pass, Chisholm had one of her strongest outings of the season. She has numerous game ball honors this season, but because of her role her consistency on this list can improve. Look for Chisholm to be one of the top scoring options this season behind Hollins, Reaves and Cook.

"I think the coaches did a great job doing scouting before the game," Chisholm said. "I just try to remember what my role is and I just know I can get to the basket, so I just try and do that the best I can."

2. Tiffany Turner, 8 -- Turner had another impressive output today and is adding to her role as one of the most consistent players on this squad. Turner had 13 points and six rebounds as she makes it tough for head coach Jamelle Elliott to decide who starts as Randolph is now available again. Turner is averaging 8.8 points per game on top of her team leading 8.1 rebounds per game. Look for Turner to continue to lose minutes however, because of the return of Randolph. Her numbers may drop a little bit as well, but Turner's role on this team as an important player and probably a starter will remain for the rest of the season.

"I'm going to still have the same mindset and we're just going to work well together," Turner said about having Randolph back.

"It's a good problem to have, having Jeanise back down low giving us a post presence inside," Elliott said. "How it's going to effect the line-up -- you probably don't want to change the starting line-up a whole lot because those guys have a whole lot of chemistry going, but it's going to be good to get Jeanise in the game." 

3. Jeanise Randolph, 8 --
The women's basketball program got what they wanted for Christmas when they got Randolph back from injury just in time for conference play. Randolph who will now add much needed depth behind Tiffany Turner played only 13 minutes this afternoon, but was productive and gave fans an idea what the team has been missing. Randolph was perfect from the field, granted she only attempted two shots, she was still an added threat on the floor. She also had three rebounds, two blocks, and two steals, so that was a good sight for sore eyes. Randolph deserves the credit for tonight's performance as this will help her build her confidence and get her mind of a nagging injury that will have to be monitored  throughout the season.

"It really feels great to be back to play," Randolph said. "I'm getting there, I'm getting there."

Honorable Mention: Kayla Cook, 7 -- Anytime you have a player that plays all 40 minutes as does Cook game-in-game-out you must mention them as they are pivotal to the team's success. Cook's shooting wasn't her best today, but she still finished second in scoring today with 14 points. 

Previewing the opponent: Indianapolis Greyhounds

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The University of Cincinnati women's basketball team returns to Fifth Third Arena tonight to face off against the University of Indianapolis Greyhounds. The Bearcats are currently riding a four game losing streak and have an even more depleted line-up with Dayeesha Hollins suffering from a shoulder injury that sidelined her for the second half against Louisville and the team's last game. While her statuses for this game is up in the air, the Bearcats will be looking to bounce back from a loss at local rival Miami (OH) this past Saturday. Tonight's game will be the second televised game for the Bearcats at home and will be shown on FOX Sports Ohio.

This will be Indy's toughest task this season standing at 6-2. It is a pivotal game for both sides tonight and will be the 10th of 13 non-conference games for the Bearcats this season. The Greyhounds have beaten Evansville and Northern Kentucky this season, which are two teams that UC has already played and defeated as well. This seems to be a very even match-up.

Indianapolis is currently on a six game winning streak and is beating their opponents by more than 12.6 points per game. The Hounds are led by junior Kristin Turner who is averaging 13.3 points per game and 4.8 assists per game and Nickole Gonser who grabs a team-best 5.5 rebounds per contest this season.

The Bearcats must find a way to hold on to leads, as they squandered leads in all four of their losses this season. With an efficient shooting team in Indy coming into Bearcat country tonight, UC must be able to play for 40 minutes in order to come out victorious. They may be with out Hollins again tonight and if so, Alyesha Lovett is her likely replacement in the starting line-up.

Stay tuned for my game balls and player ratings after the game. The tip is set for 7 p.m. from Fifth Third Arena.    

Game Balls & Player Ratings: Louisville Cardinals

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The women's basketball program has been searching for its signature win since head coach Jamelle Elliott took over the struggling program three years ago. In their first BIG EAST game this season UC had that win slip through their grasp in the final minute of regulation. Fourteenth ranked Louisville defeated the Bearcats 64-59 using a three-point basket and free throws in the final minute. Before leaving the game with an apparent shoulder injury, Dayeesha Hollins scored 15 points and was the key to breaking the athletic press of UL.
Tiffany Turner continued her bruising play inside scoring 11 points and claiming 11 rebounds, her second double-double this season. Bjonee Reaves and Kayla Cook both shot the ball very well from deep most of night and both added double figures, Reaves with 18 (leading all scorers) and Cook with 13. An animated bench helped propel the girls tonight to a near upset and Hollins, Turner and Reaves are awarded game ball honors for the efforts and production.

Player ratings: (0-10; 10=Best)

Game Ball winners:

1. Dayeesha Hollins, 9 -- Hollins will be remembered in this game for not returning due to a shoulder injury, but her play before the injury was the reason UC held the lead for most of the second half. Hollins continually beat the press and put her teammates in great positions to score. An acrobatic lay-up was one of the plays of the game, which was a great showing from a Bearcat team that is attempting to turn BIG EAST doubters into believers.

2. Tiffany Turner, 9 -- Turner had her second double-double of the season tonight and according to Elliott she did it on one healthy knee. That's an amazing feat for a player who was out sized inside and did not have the benefit of resting on the bench while her replacements picked up the slack. Turner was one of four starters that played over 35 minutes and was able to produce during every one of those minutes. From strong blocks, nice jumpers, solid rebounds, and finesse finishes around the basket, Turner was one of the best players on the floor for either squad.
 
3. Bjonee Reaves, 9 -- Reaves continues to lead her team through the thick and thin of game situations. Reaves made a lot of tough shots and finished as the games highest scorer. Her rainbow three-pointer was one of the coolest plays of the night until Reaves decided to one-up herself getting a floater to go in the final minute keeping her team within striking distance. Obviously disappointed, the way Reaves controls herself and keeps the heads of her teammates up will go a long way towards the success of this Bearcats team. 

Honorable Mention: Kayla Cook, 8 --
After struggling to get going in the first half, Cook had her shot going in the second half. Number 10 played all 40 minutes and hustled during every one of them. Her efforts were worth an honorable mention.
The Bearcats are looking to bounce back from consecutive losses tonight when they host the Louisville Cardinals in their first BIG EAST contest of the season.

Currently at 6-2, the Bearcats lost consecutively for the first time this season on the road, in the cross town shootout at Xavier and in Huntington, W.Va. against Marshall. UC held leads is both of those games before surrendering to the opposition in the last five minutes.

This was the first time in head coach Jamelle Elliott's tenure that the Bearcats played Xavier in the hostile environment of the Cintas Center. The previous two meetings were played at neutral settings where the sixth man, which is the crowd, was not as much as a factor. UC had the lead for most of the game against the Musketeers, until the last five minutes turned into a nightmare for the Bearcats. Xavier shot 60 percent in the second half and out rebounded the Bearcats 39-26 leading them to victory. The Musketeers had four players in double figures.

"The last five minutes we allowed their best player to really get off and score six or eight straight points in the lane," Elliott said. "We had a couple lapses mentally, breaking down, boxing out, so we lost the game in the last five minutes."

Cincinnati's trip to Marshall had a similar theme. Up 11 points at one point in the game, the Bearcats fell to the half court pressure that Marshall displayed the final five minutes of the game. Marshall's Jasmine Shaw scored 11 points in just three minutes and led the Thundering Herd with 13 points for the game. The Bearcats had noticeable leads of 19-9 and 29-20 before falling to Herd, 55-47.

"They made a run, both teams, Xavier and Marshall when we didn't have time to capitalize," Elliott said. "Before we could get through it the game was over."

UC hopes to use the experiences from the their losses by overcoming leads they may see the 14th ranked Cardinals get out to on this evening. The first BIG EAST test of the season may be one of the toughest the Bearcats will see this season. Elliott spoke to the athleticism  and size of the Cardinals, which she believes will give her team the most trouble tonight. Starting point guard Bjonee Reaves remembers the team's match-up with UL last season and recalls not being able to advance the ball against Louisville's athletic press.

"Louisville is going to be a team that we haven't seen anything close to them this year," Elliott said. "They're long, they're athletic and one through five positions. Their point guard is over six feet tall, their wings are over six feet tall and then they have athletic post players, so we have not played an athletic team similar to Louisville. This is by far going to be the most pressure we see in the eight games we have played so far this year."

Cincinnati has been focusing on breaking the pressure they will see from UL in practice this week. Elliott knows the only way her team has a chance to pull of the upset is if they limit turnovers by protecting the ball and make good decisions for a full 40 minutes. UC obviously must take advantage of the opportunities they see on the offensive end and capitalize on all of them to stay in the game. On the defensive side of the ball, Elliott has stressed the importance of keeping the Cardinals in front of them and boxing out limiting UL's second chance points.

"The most you can do is watch a lot of tape, realize what their tendencies are and try to simulate them as much as you can in practice in hopes that it will help us when the game starts," Elliott said.

"It seems like teams are going to try and pressure us and we need to be more prepared, more organized and be able to handle the pressure," Reaves said.

If the Bearcats want to pull the upset Elliott knows that her team needs to out rebound the Cardinals and hold them under their average points per game. UC must be aggressive and get to the free throw line to limit Louisville's scoring runs and transition buckets.

Louisville is the Bearcats' longest rival, playing since 1973,and is their local partner in the BIG EAST. UC is looking to avenge last seasons loss to the Cardinals and start 1-0 in conference play for the first time in Elliott's tenure. If they do so they will need to limit UL's top scorer, Monique Reid, a senior forward that has been averaging 14.6 ppg and a team-best 5.6 rpg.

Tonight's tip is set for 7:00 p.m. from Fifth Third Arena.

Game Balls & Player Ratings: Morgan State

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The Bearcats used a 13-0 first-half run and several second half three-pointers to escape an upset effort from Morgan State tonight at Fifth Third Arena. Sparked by Kayla Cook's three-point surge, coach Jamelle Elliott's squad forced the Lady Bears into bad decisions down the stretch. The Bearcats have won their first six games of the season for the first time since 2001-02. A dominant second half by Morgan State led to the upset scare, but the play of three individuals yielded the Lady Bears' comeback. Cook's three-point jumper played a huge role in the 64-60 win. Tiffany Turner's first half output and rebound totals spurred the Bearcats as well. Bjonee Reaves showed enough grit in the second half to lead her team down the stretch as well. Cook, Turner and Reaves receive game ball awards tonight for the efforts and production.

Player ratings: (0-10; 10=Best)

Game Ball winners:

1. Kayla Cook, 9 -- Think wisely before playing zone defense against these Bearcats. It may have prevented big games from Dayeesha Hollins and Bjonee Reaves, but sophomore Kayla Cook was all nylon tonight. Cook scored a game-high 20 points, shooting 60 percent from three-point range. Especially in the second half, Cook had her shot going. It is safe to say that if Cook wasn't on fire from the field tonight, then the Bearcats would have dropped their first game of the season. She continues to benefit from solid point guard play, but Cook seems to be one of the streakiest shooters in the country and its paying dividends for UC.

"With them pressuring Day and Bjonee tonight, I feel like I have to step up and make a shot," Cook said. "If I miss my first shot I'm really down on myself, but if I make my first shot then I have a lot of confidence and tonight I had a lot of confidence in my shot."

"I can't say enough about Kayla's threes in the second half," Elliott said. "They really, really, really busted their zone wide open." 

2. Tiffany Turner, 9 -- Two words. Double. Double. Tiffany Turner pulled down 12 boards and added 17 points to help propel the Bearcats over the Lady Bears. Turner dominated the first half amounting 11 points by halftime. She demonstrates a great basketball IQ game-in-game-out and is very active on both ends of the floor. The underlying thing is -- she's just a better basketball player than most of her opponents. She has a solid mid-ranger jumper, touch around the rim, and a better than average driving ability. Even on a bum knee, Turner is one of the team's most consistent contributors, so when she's 100 percent, look out BIG EAST.

"I knew this was a big game for us going 6-0," Turner said. "I knew I had to do something to help my team out today. I tried to box out and I got boards today."

"Tiffany is a great shooter," Elliott said. "That played right into her hands when they played zone."

3. Bjonee Reaves, 7 -- This isn't going to be a typical recap of Reaves' game. She didn't score 20 points tonight and she wasn't lighting it up from downtown. Frankly, it doesn't matter. Reaves was the floor general tonight dishing out a game-high six assists and was one of the main reasons Cook was getting great looks from the perimeter. Reaves also finished the game with nine points and seven assists. She is the senior leader of this team and an important key to success for the Bearcats this season.

"I think it just starts with my teammates, they have a lot of confidence in me," Reaves said. "They look for me to lead them and whether I am scoring or not, I'm more than just a scorer for this team. Kayla and Tiffany had great games today and they stepped up very big. That's the difference between our team being like the past years. We are very diverse, I feel like anybody on any given night can have a twenty-point game. I am going to continue to lead whether I have 20 or whether I have five."

"When she's not making them, she's a good decoy," Elliott said. "Obviously Bjonee is smart, I like her on the floor. She makes free throws and she's a good ball handler, so even when she's not making shots she still does the things to help our team win." 

Know your opponent: Morgan State Bears

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As I was walking to class this morning three mini-vans impeded my progress as I came down the stairs by the Nipper Stadium concourse. Marked with Kentucky license plates these vans were holding the women of Morgan State, Cincinnati's non-conference opponent for tonight.

You may have already read about the Bears via yesterday's press release, but here is some more information regarding the team from Maryland.

Morgan State (2-2) is coming off a 54-52 road win at Bucknell. The Bears leading scorer, DeKeisha Martin, is a senior, who coach Donald Beasley counts on for consistent play. She is very efficient from the guard position and is one of the leaders on her team. Her game resembles that of Bjonee Reaves because she is similar in size and is especially good from three-point range.

Other key players for the Bears are Jamesia Smith, who is contributing nine points per game and Omara Parker, who is their leading re-bounder and third leading scorer.

Morgan State's other win this season came against local-rival, George Washington. Their two losses were to Maryland-Baltimore County and St. Bonaventure. Their losses were both by double-digits, while their wins were by single-digit margins. This is the Bears fifth straight road game.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. from Fifth Third Arena.